An increasing number of applied disciplines are utilizing evidence-based frameworks to review and disseminate the effectiveness of management and policy interventions. The rationale is that increased accessibility of the best available evidence will provide a more efficient and less biased platform for decision making. We argue that there are significant benefits for conservation in using such a framework, but the scientific community needs to undertake and disseminate more systematic reviews before the full benefit can be realized. We devised a set of guidelines for undertaking formalized systematic review, based on a health services model. The guideline stages include planning and conducting a review, including protocol formation, search strategy, data inclusion, data extraction, and analysis. Review dissemination is addressed in terms of current developments and future plans for a Web-based open-access library. By the use of case studies we highlight critical modifications to guidelines for protocol formulation, data-quality assessment, data extraction, and data synthesis for conservation and environmental management. Ecological data presented significant but soluble challenges for the systematic review process, particularly in terms of the quantity, accessibility, and diverse quality of available data. In the field of conservation and environmental management there needs to be further engagement of scientists and practitioners to develop and take ownership of an evidence-based framework.